If you know who Lissie is after just reading the article headline, it’s most likely for the song “Everywhere I Go,” as featured on 90210 and Grey’s Anatomy. If you are still quite unsure of who Lissie is, she is a 28 year old singer-songwriter from Illinois via California, the geographic mixture of which is an apparent blend of sparkly sunshine and expansive loss, sprinkled with allusions to early American folk. The album is good. I would recommend you listen to it. But it’s so tragically burdened by glossy over-production that I can with more enthusiasm recommend her live performance, because there it is clear that Lissie Is For Real. I had the pleasure of watching Lissie perform with her band, which includes members of Band of Horses, and introduce us to her first full-length album, “Catching A Tiger”. But I think that most of us in the audience delighted in the surprisingly powerful and, uh oh I’m gonna say it, raw performance filled with songs more interesting and dynamic than that hit single.
In all honesty, it’s Lissie’s voice that made the entire show as strong as it was, the intensity of which wasn’t quite captured on her album. It is strong and confident, and she is obviously a natural. Her voice carried loud and clear throughout the Opera House, silencing chatterers whenever she would kick it up a notch, particularly on the blow-your-eyes-outta-their-sockets “Record Collector” and “In Sleep”. Her style echoed many female-singers before her (I heard Billie Holiday, Sheryl Crow, and Neko Case, but she has also been compared to Stevie Nicks), but there was also an unusual kind of middle-America country punk aspect to it. Country punk! Here’s a modern Nashville-produced Folk Rock Pop Grrrl Power album for the interdisciplinary music scene today, with a seriously epic Classic Rock kind of live show to remind people that electric guitars really rock even if at the heart of it you’re singing about boys.
I still don’t quite know what to think of her. She’s a very attractive woman with long blonde hair who likes to attack her lyrics with awkward fidgety hand gestures and likes to wear a tank top in the middle of winter. And yet she fucking ROCKED. So even though her songs are going to be used and abused by the media (and you can tell from other interviews that she is not totally on board with big labels, and perhaps even not on board with her primary producer –Jacquire King, of Kings of Leon and Norah Jones fame), at the heart of it all is a genuine country-rock chick who has so much promise and such a great live performance to offer. And happily, she also offers us all a great reminder to just let go and sing as loud as you can (and I may mean that metaphorically).